Book Review: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

We have officially wrapped up our second book of the Book Babes book club!
Our November book was The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck is a type of self help that doesn't care to give it to you easy & politely tell you to get a grip of yourself.  Mark Manson has a no nonsense style of writing that is entertaining, assertive & cuts the bull shit. He tells it like it is & dismisses the idea of chronic positivity. "Fuck positivity" according to Mark. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck is really about accepting that there will always be problems, & how to focus more on learning to stomach lemons instead of trying to turn them all into lemonade. 

You can purchase The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck using our affiliate link below:

Basically, most of us spend our lives caring about too much instead of focusing on what actually matters, thus creating chaos & unnecessary mental chatter. This book gives it to you straight - stop masking your problems, face them. Stop being so distracted by the excess & define what matters to you

This book will help you define what is actually important to you in life, & letting go everything else. Cutting distractions, defining your values, & detaching from our innate need to be right & feel special. It's the reality check everyone needs.

Chapter 1: Don't Try
Not: Don't care. Just don't try so hard. Not giving a fuck does not = being indifferent. You can't give zero fucks. You can, however, choose where to focus your energy & what to care about. Don't beat yourself up so much. This chapter touches on the Feedback Loop From Hell & how constantly seeking positivity is actually a negative experience. It generates more anxiety than it does help you. He wants you to, instead, embrace & fix the problem. Not stonewall it & ignore that it's even there by overcompensating with constant false positivity. 

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck

Chapter 2: Happiness is a Problem
Life will always have problems. There will always be suffering.

"Problems never stop; they merely get exchanged or upgraded"

We find happiness in solving our problems. When we deny our problems, bury them or choose to have a victim mentality rather than progressing through our problems, we generate our own unhappiness.
We shouldn't ignore our emotions, rather listen to them & utilize them to face the underlying issues of lingering feelings. This is how we can maintain happiness. 

Chapter 3: You Are Not Special
We have an entitlement problem & where we believe we can all be exceptional. This is not achievable or realistic & generates a lot of false confidence. The problem is, only few people are actually exceptional & unfortunately, the majority of us are average. Our expectations of ourselves become too high, which again just generates low self-esteem & misery. 


Chapter 4: The Value of Suffering
This was actually one of my favorite chapters. Aside from the main values you learn in this book, the story of Lt. Hiroo Onoda was highly enticing. Talk about suffering for what you believe in & coming out happy!
Our suffering, or the things we suffer over, usually go hand-in-hand with our values. So it's important that we have values that align with who we wish to be. Make sure you are suffering over only what will make you feel like the best version of yourself.

"If you want to change how you see your problems, you have to change what you value and/or how you measure failure/success"

Having poor values just makes you focus on things that don't matter. When you prioritize your values, you focus on bigger & better things, resulting in bigger & better happiness. 
He breaks down some well known "shitty" values & helps you identify & construct better values in this chapter.

Chapter 5: You Are Always Choosing
Believe it or not, we are much more in control of our lives than we like to admit. We might not get to choose our circumstances but we are completely in charge of how we respond to them.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck

We are responsible for our life experience through our choices - What we choose to react to or ignore. How we choose to interpret things. What we choose to care about. Who we choose to surround ourselves with. It's all in our choices. 

Chapter 6: You're Wrong About Everything
We tend to think being wrong is a bad thing. We want so badly to be right all the time that we completely reject others ideas or react negatively to being told we are wrong. The problem with this is, you aren't learning or growing if you're constantly stuck on the idea that you're always right. 

"Certainty is the enemy of growth. Nothing is for certain until it has already happened - and even then, it's still debatable. That's why accepting the inevitable imperfections of our values is necessary for any growth to take place."

It is important to question yourself, your beliefs, your choices, your thoughts, everything. When you become sure of yourself, so completely certain of who you are, you cut yourself off from growing. & what's not growing, is dying.

Chapter 7: Failure is the Way Forward
Much like being wrong, we are also afraid to fail. We seem to forget that anyone that has achieved greatness also faced many failures. When you persist through the failures & strive to get better, your failures will become successes.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck

Failure also helps you to further the fulfillment you will feel when you do succeed. If you succeed at every single thing you do & everything is easy, there's no value in it. It will mean nothing. Failure is not only inevitable, it is necessary. 

Chapter 8: The Importance of Saying No

Most people spend a lot of time trying to please everyone. We want so badly to be liked or avoid hurting anyone's feelings that we accept invites we want to decline, we take on more work than we can handle, we go places we'd rather not, eat food we don't like, fake social interactions we'd rather avoid, agree with someone you don't agree with as a formality.. you get the point. We fear missing out. We don't like to feel rejected. We don't want to step on anyone's toes. The problem with this is: we are allowing others to choose our values, our identity. We are not being honest. We are not establishing boundaries. & we are perpetuating our own unhappiness.

"To truly appreciate something, you must confine yourself to it. There's a certain level of joy & meaning you reach in life only when you've spent decades investing in a single relationship, a single craft, a single career. And you cannot achieve those decades of investment without rejecting the alternatives... We are defined by what we choose to reject. And if we reject nothing (perhaps in fear of being rejected by something ourselves), we essentially have no identity at all."

Chapter 9: ... & Then You Die
Death is inevitable. All that is living will one day.. not be. This is something we know to be true but choose to either not think about, or overthink entirely. Accepting our mortality suddenly makes it clear what is important and what is not. Much like when you lose a close friend or family member, when you're confronted with or accept death, your life changes. You realize what matters & what is arbitrary.

Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck

We rate this a 5/5 4 stars
We definitely think that everyone should read this book as we found it to be a complete eye opener & a great reality check. It is something we intend to reread & share with others. The great thing about this book is, despite it's "fuck positivity" mantra, you actually finish it feeling a sense of positivity in that you are now armed with helpful tools to REALLY improve your life. Not just a bunch of fluff or self servicing, temporary highs that come with avoiding your problems & not actually solving anything. You feel like you're ready to take on life. In control & giving "no fucks" about the excess.

Make sure to join Book Babes & follow along as we start our December book: Party of One: The Loners' Manifesto
Voting for our January books opens December 5th

If you've read this book, let us know in the comments below what your thoughts were. Do you agree that this is a must read for everyone?

Use our affiliate links below to get caught up on our full reading list now!

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